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March Mascot Madness: Round of 64

Right.  So after reading the wonderful, insightful, basketball-based predictions the others have written, you’ve come here for a rather different take on this year’s tournament field.  And, if you know little of or don’t care at all about college basketball, you’ve probably filled out your bracket with this exact premise: which mascot would win in a fight?  That, my friends, is what we will get to the bottom of in this feature.  To keep this flowing, there are just three simple premises for my decisions:

1) These are one-on-one matchups only, so a team with the nickname “hornets” only gets one measly little bee, not a crazy wrath-of-God swarm.

2) Several of these mascots have different interpretations of the noun they use, so I will outline what I believe to be the best option.  And since this is print and I’ve already written it, your opinion won’t change the results…live with it.  I will try, however, to keep the interpretations consistent.  So, whatever I declare my image of something to be in round one will be how it is all the way to the finals.

3) Tying into Point 2, mascots can and will use whatever tools/additions are associated with whatever incarnation they take in my head.

Enough explaining things!  Michael, let’s kick off the Round of 64! 

PLAY-IN GAMES

Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils over Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

One of the best mascots in the field this year easily trumps one of the worst.  Basically, unless the opposing mascot is a hill, WKU doesn’t bring much to the table.  MVST wins this one walking away.

BYU Cougars over Iona Gaels

A large carnivorous mountain cat against a person who speaks Gaelic?  I’m taking the cougar (and I’d take the cougar in the other sense of the word as well).

Lamar Cardinals over Vermont Catamounts

I didn’t even research what a catamount was because I just like how Lamar Cardinals could totally be a guy’s name.  We need to keep them around for a bit.

California Bears over South Florida Bulls

This one would probably be pretty close but I’m giving the edge to the bear because of its ability to climb trees.  Yes, I am totally imagining a bear doing a pile-driver onto the bull from a tree…admit it, you’d pay to see that.

SOUTH REGION

MVST Delta Devils over Kentucky Wildcats

The Delta Devils are just annihilating the state of Kentucky here.  But did you really expect much of a challenge between a cat and a supernatural being?  Didn’t think so.

Iowa State Cyclones over Connecticut Huskies

Huskies are a pretty badass dog (see: Iditarod) but I’m pretty sure it flies just as far as other dogs when swept up by the winds of a tornado.

VCU Rams over Wichita State Shockers

If WSU’s logo was something involving lightning, then I might give them the edge in this battle.  Unfortunately for them, it’s this:

What the...?

I don’t know what that is, but a ram is going to beat it.  With its head.

New Mexico State Aggies over Indiana Hoosiers

Basically this comes down to who would win in a fight between a New Mexico farming student and someone from Indiana.  I’ve been to Indiana…they seem far too nice to beat someone up effectively.  Also, the NM State guy has a gun and rope.  Generally those are a little more effective than a basketball in fights.

UNLV Rebels over Colorado Buffalos

Luke Skywalker vs an animal?  Dude, Luke used to gun down wamprats in his T-16 and those aren’t much bigger than two meters.  Buffalos are way bigger than two meters, so this is a cakewalk for him.

Baylor Bears over South Dakota State Jackrabbits

The jackrabbit’s quickness might delay the slaughter for a while, but c’mon, it’s just a harmless little bunny.  What’s he do?  Nibble your bum?

"Run away!!!"

Notre Dame Fighting Irish over Xavier Musketeers

Okay now stay with me on this one.  The difference between the Fighting Irish and the Gaels is that the Gaels aren’t necessarily badass Irishmen…it could be some old professor in a tweed jacket who speaks Gaelic.  A cougar can handle that guy all day.  But a Frenchman with a sword against an enraged (probably drunk) Irish fighter?  I’m taking the Irish guy.

Duke Blue Devils over Lehigh Mountain Hawks

Do I really need to explain this one again?  Ever hear of a book called the Bible?  The devil possesses animals all the time in that thing!  Game over.

WEST REGION

Michigan State Spartans over Long Island Blackbirds

Yet another one where if you need convincing, there’s something wrong with you.  300 Spartans > Lots of Immortals…I think they can handle a blackbird who says “cwofee.”

Saint Louis Billikens over Memphis Tigers

I want to meet the person who thought this would be a good mascot for the sports teams of Saint Louis.  This thing might be the creepiest mascot in history.  I mean, just look at it!

There are no words.

It’s like Buddha had a baby with the Grinch (worst sitcom ever?) and then dropped it into your worst nightmares.

So what the heck is it?  Some art teacher from St. Louis in 1908 made a doll out of a mysterious figure in her dreams, patented it, and somehow the university thought it looked like its coach so they made it the mascot.  Talk about a backhand compliment.  How would you feel if people said you looked like this thing?

"Run away!!!"

Shockingly, popularity of the doll subsided fairly quickly after children were never heard from again after sleeping in the same room with it (citation needed).  Tiger loses because it’s terrified to touch the damn thing (don’t blame it at all).

Long Beach State 49ers over New Mexico Lobos

A lobo is wolf in Spanish.  For those of you who have no idea what a 49er is, it’s someone who left for California during the 1849 (see what they did there) Gold Rush.  Now, digging for gold involves, well, digging so, that means shovels or, in this case, a pickaxe.  Wolf, meet sharp metal object.  Niner wins.

Davidson Wildcats over Louisville Cardinals

This is just basic food chain knowledge.  Cats eat birds.  End of story.

Colorado State Rams over Murray State Racers

This one was tricky.  A racer could mean like a racecar driver, in which case the metal object going 200 mph would defeat the ram despite its natural helmet.  However, the Murray State logo seems to have a horse and jockey on it so the racer would be a 4”2’ dude in clothes that would make Elton John uncomfortable.

Ladies? I mean...wait...

Ram looks a bit more enticing now, huh?

BYU Cougars over Marquette Golden Eagles

See the food chain reference above.  Cats kill birds.

Virginia Cavaliers over Florida Gators

This one would actually be quite close simply because, in order to kill the gator, the cavalier would have to get close enough to use the sword.  Honestly though, if the people on Swamp People can catch these things and not die, I feel like a cavalier would be able to stab it a few times.

Norfolk State Spartans over Missouri Tigers

This is Gladiator-ish stuff here (wrong ancient civilization, I know), but I think if Roman people could fight these animals and not die, the Spartans could too.

EAST REGION

UNC-Asheville Bulldogs over Syracuse Orange

Remember when I said Western Kentucky had the worst nickname?  I lied.  Syracuse does.  It’s a fruit.  A freaking fruit.  Bulldogs are like, the least intimidating dog (stumpy legs, mouth too big to do much with, the list goes on), but even a bulldog can bite, step on, or heck, sit on an orange and kill it.

Kansas State Wildcats over Southern Miss Golden Eagles

I’m not explaining this one again…

Vanderbilt Commodores over Harvard Crimson

Are there two snootier sounding names that could have squared off?  Vandy wins this one by default because, as bad as Syracuse’s name is, at least it’s something tangible.  You could theoretically trip on an orange and die…I have no idea how the color crimson could hurt you.  I cannot for the life of me think of any situation where this would be dangerous.  The Commodores can sip their Pernod-Ricard Perrier-Joet (expensive champagne to the rest of us) all the way to the next round.

Montana Grizzlies over Wisconsin Badgers

If this were the Wisconsin Honey Badgers, then we might have to think about this.  But, come on.  The most badass bear in the woods against this thing?

I can hear you "aww" from here.

Whatever…

Cincinnati Bearcats over Texas Longhorns

I’ll be honest about this one…I went back and forth so many times here.  One the one side you have the athletic predator bearcat with claws and teeth and agility.  On the other side you have a longhorn cow, which has none of the aforementioned qualities.  And yet, those horns.  One blow from those puppies and that bearcat would be down for the count.  I think the bearcat has the instincts to pull this one out, but this could be an upset.

Florida State Seminoles over St. Bonaventure Bonnies

Admit it…you giggled a bit when you read that mascot.  The Bonnies?  For real?  That’s more the name of a Disney Channel band than a sports team.  Man with the flaming spear wins this one easily.

West Virginia Mountaineers over Gonzaga Bulldogs

We’ve already gone over how little I think of bulldogs as a menacing adversary, but throw it against the burley man’s man of a mountaineer (animal fur clothing, gun, chiseled jaw, beard…do I need to go on?) and this is no contest.

Queue Old Spice music

Loyola (MD) Greyhounds over Ohio State Buckeyes

This is the cousin of the Syracuse mascot when it comes to lack of inspiring fear.  A nut?  Or a desert?  You really can’t make that sound terrifying or intimidating.  And the dog could just eat it and end the battle in seconds.  Next!

MIDWEST REGION

North Carolina Tar Heels over Lamar Cardinals

Sorry, Lamar, you’ve had your run.  Because you’re curious, a tar-heel is a nickname for a person from North Carolina because of their large tar exports back to England in the colonial days.  So this is a pissed off person from Nor’ Cackalacky against poor Lamar.  I don’t think the gun laws are very strict there, so I’m takin the Tar Heel.

Alabama Crimson Tide over Creighton Blue Jays

This was a weird one because, what is a crimson tide?  I took it to mean literally a red tide, as in ocean tides.  And, although the blue jay will be able to fly over the water for a while, he’ll have to land eventually and I don’t think he can swim.  This is by far the most boring battle of the bunch, though.

California Bears over Temple Owls

In doing this, I’ve sort of realized that birds kind of suck.  I’ve gained respect for Hitchcock for being able to make them frightening because, in comparing them against these other things, they look pretty wimpy.

Michigan Wolverines over Ohio Bobcats

I can sum this one up for you: have you ever heard of an X-Man named Bobcat?  Waiting…

No.

That’s what I thought.

San Diego State Aztecs over NC State Wolfpack

Now, sticklers will notice that NCST tried to get around the one-on-one rule with their nickname being the singular pack of wolves.  In the spirit of fairness to SDST, and just because I don’t really like NC State, I’m ruling it has to be one wolf against one Aztec.  Aztecs are cool and they gave us chocolate.  Win.

Belmont Bruins over Georgetown Hoyas

I still have never gotten an answer to my question “What’s a hoya?”  Know why?  Because even the school doesn’t know exactly where it came from.  They say some kids in the late 19th century wanted to be smart and use Greek words to describe something about the teams…point is its snooty and dumb.  Bruins advance due to lack of knowledge on GTown’s part.

Purdue Boilermakers over Saint Mary’s Gaels

Two guys who know Gaelic in the same bracket?  Crazy.  Sadly for this enlightened fellow, however, a boilermaker has a hammer (or, if I really felt nice towards him, a train).  As the Beatles sang, “Bang! Bang! Maxwell’s silver hammer made sure that he was dead.”

Detroit Titans over Kansas Jayhawks

I did not know this was the nickname for Detroit and, I have to say, I’m impressed.  Titans are pretty awesome with the whole, you know, being a god thing so, I think he’d be able to handle yet another pathetic little bird.

 

Well, that’s it for the first round.  Check back this weekend for the Round of 32 results as we work our way towards a champion!

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